What is the difference between jams, marmalades, preserves, and butters? Oh, you’re going to learn and you’re going to love it! And how about shrubs? Have you ever sipped a shrub? Not the bush kind, but a fruit syrup, preserved with vinegar and mixed with water or alcohol to make a refreshing beverage. It Starts with Fruit will quell all of your fears about canning and inspire you to preserve everything you see at the farmers’ market. The photography and illustrations are beautiful and the stories that accompany each recipe will make it seem like you’re preserving more than just food.
This is quickly becoming another favorite cookbook of mine. If a cookbook can be considered a page-turner, this is one that I couldn’t put down. Kim’s story of his immigration unfolds, from his first taste memories in South Korea through his life growing up in London and New York to the opening of his Hell’s Kitchen restaurant, Danji, which would receive a Michelin star, the first ever in the world for a Korean restaurant. This book is truly inspiring and I can’t wait to begin my own Korean food cooking journey.
If ever you need to leave behind the fast-paced, app-filled, droning noise of this time, open up the world of Simon the Fiddler. This meandering story, set at the end of the Civil War, follows Simon, his fiddle, his dreams for a simple, peaceful life, and his quest to marry the Irish lass he fell in love with at first sight. There are saloon fights, friendships, alligators, hoop skirts, letter writing, and tragic loss. I’m telling you, I thought the music and the Southern scenes were all going to just fade into the Texas sunset, until I got to the final chapters—plot twist!
The characters in this transporting book, set before and after the Civil War, still haunt my thoughts. We get to know a mother and daughter—midwives and healers—and the community they serve. Their magic is both a blessing, and a curse and the people who need them can be desperate to believe or quick to condemn. This is a story of people, their overlapping realities, their longing for security, and the unjust world and its rules, rules that we still deal with today. You will love the characters, be curious about what’s true and what is conjured, and shake your head with grief as the story comes to a close.
If you’ve ever loved anyone who struggles with mental heatlh issues, this book is that story. It captures with such raw and imperfect understanding both sides of being the one with the beautiful and complicated mind as well as the one who loves and cares for them...and sometimes at them. One whole unamed character in this book is the mental health system and it’s shortfalls. This story is about two sisters and their bond to love one another. The question that lurked in the background was, what about those who have no one? I highly recommend this book for its insight and compassion. —Jenny
The Giver of Stars is one of the most satisfying stories I’ve yet read. What more could you ask for: remarkable women during the Great Depression, overcoming personal and social obstacles to deliver library books on pack horses for miles throughout the Kentucky mountains! I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough in my effort to save these beloved characters from their many perils and challenges. To know that this is based on a true story and to think how the impact of their efforts are still felt today is inspirational. - Jenny
For anyone who wants to know how to break the bad habits and keep the good ones, this is the book you need. It’s all here; the stories, the research, the experiments, the path to a new you! Professor Wendy Wood takes our most vulnerable bad habits and deals with them head on and addresses the psychology behind accountability and serial failures. If knowledge is power, then powerful good habits are just on the other side of this great read. - Jenny
Whether you dream of living off the grid or being just a little greener, Back to the Land will help get you there. Filled with lovely builds and a wonderful property in Boulder Creek, including A-frames, tent cabins, treehouses, domes, this book celebrates outdoor life with a decidedly modern flair. With advice on low-level homesteading and next-level gardening, Back to the Land is great for anyone who wants to escape to a simpler way of life. - Jenny